I decided to walk home.
I turned off the main road
away from the late-night crowds,
tipsy heels and lipstick laughter,
the night-buses, misjudged texts,
and ‘everyone back to mine’,
the final songs, minicab signs,
and those ‘one last line’s,
into the quiet.
I passed under the railway bridge,
stepping over crumpled cans, bottles,
and almost-empty plastic baggies,
their corners carefully hiding
the faded magic of someone else’s night
The shape of the bassline from the club
still filled my ribcage,
beating wings inside my chest.
There was nobody on that street
We shared a glance
and you looked down immediately,
wanting to make sure I knew
you were not a threat.
We both turned left
at the same time.
and you caught it;
a sudden sound in the night air,
filling the space between us.
You shrugged as if to say,
I’m not following you;
I live this way too.
We shared the pavement
in the companionable silence,
of not knowing one another’s lives.
But as we walked through the orange air
that hung beneath that streetlight
on the corner,
for one moment
I saw your outline,
the shape of you,
the shadow of your smile,
as I walked beside you.
When you took that final turning
onto your street,
I realised I wasn’t sure where I was.
I’d walked too far;
for the past few minutes
I had been following you,
not wanting to take the quiet way
on my own.
I stood still,
watching your outline
I didn’t know where I lived.